Third State of Natural Capital Report from England’s Natural Capital Committee

State of natural capitalOn 27 Jan­u­ary 2015, England’s Nat­ural Cap­i­tal Com­mit­tee (NCC) pub­lished its third State of Nat­ural Cap­i­tal Report. The NCC’s man­date is to “advise the Gov­ern­ment on how to ensure England’s ‘nat­ural wealth’ is man­aged effi­ciently and sus­tain­ably, thereby unlock­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for sus­tained pros­per­ity and well­be­ing”. BBOP’s Direc­tor, Kerry ten Kate, is a mem­ber of the Com­mit­tee. The report envi­sions a devel­op­ment path in which nat­ural cap­i­tal loss is halted and even­tu­ally reversed in order to coun­ter­act accu­mu­lated nat­ural cap­i­tal debt. It is shaped around the Government’s net gain com­mit­ment. The report notes that pres­sures on nat­ural cap­i­tal are already too high but are set to inten­sify, with more peo­ple expected to be added to England’s pop­u­la­tion over the next 25 years than in any pre­vi­ous sim­i­lar time period. Given these increas­ing pres­sures, sig­nif­i­cant changes to past prac­tice will be required to achieve the Government’s com­mit­ment to be the first gen­er­a­tion to “leave the nat­ural envi­ron­ment in a bet­ter state than that in which it was inherited”.

To meet this com­mit­ment the Com­mit­tee advises that Gov­ern­ment should develop a strat­egy with a 25-year plan to pro­tect and improve nat­ural cap­i­tal and the ben­e­fits it pro­vides; deter­mine how this is to be funded, draw­ing on a com­bi­na­tion of pub­lic and pri­vate fund­ing; assign insti­tu­tional respon­si­bil­ity for mon­i­tor­ing the state of nat­ural cap­i­tal; incen­tivize wider adop­tion and uptake of the cor­po­rate nat­ural cap­i­tal account­ing frame­work out­lined in the report and con­sider requir­ing pro­vi­sions to be made for the main­te­nance of nat­ural cap­i­tal; step up action to ensure that the Office for National Sta­tis­tics and the Depart­ment for Envi­ron­ment, Food and Rural Affairs meet the tar­get of incor­po­rat­ing nat­ural cap­i­tal into the national accounts by 2020; revise its eco­nomic appraisal guid­ance to reflect nat­ural cap­i­tal bet­ter and apply this revised guid­ance to new projects; and drive a sub­stan­tial, long term inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research pro­gram on nat­ural cap­i­tal to inform future iter­a­tions of the strat­egy. For their part, orga­ni­za­tions should cre­ate a reg­is­ter of nat­ural cap­i­tal for which they are respon­si­ble and use this to main­tain its qual­ity and quantity.

Specif­i­cally on the mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy and net gain, the Com­mit­tee rec­om­mends that “The National Infra­struc­ture Plan should incor­po­rate nat­ural cap­i­tal into each of the main infra­struc­ture sec­tors, fol­low­ing the mit­i­ga­tion hier­ar­chy for man­ag­ing impacts (avoid, min­i­mize, restore, off­set). An invest­ment pro­gram for nat­ural cap­i­tal should also explic­itly fea­ture in the National Infra­struc­ture Plan.” As one of the fund­ing sources for the 25 year plan, the report rec­om­mends that Gov­ern­ment should “ensure that dam­age to renew­able nat­ural cap­i­tal is, where pos­si­ble, avoided and min­i­mized, but where it does occur, it is fully com­pen­sated by invest­ment in renew­able nat­ural cap­i­tal of equiv­a­lent or higher pri­or­ity or value”.

 Infor­ma­tion retrieved from the lat­est (May 2015) BBOP Newslet­ter.


Third State of Natural Capital Report from England’s Natural Capital Committee — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Newsletter of the Business and Biodiversity Offset Programme, May 2015 - Biodiversity Offsets Blog

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